Talent showcased, despite disorganization: Hudson Valley Talent Show review

Andrea Currie

News Editor

Despite disorganization and poor planning, the Hudson Valley talent show Friday evening was an enjoyable experience. About 60 people, including the performers, attended the event in the Maureen Stapleton Theatre in Siek Campus Center. Acts ran the gamut from juggling to a cappella to magic tricks.

The talent show ended with Lucid Dreams, a rap duo who do not attend Hudson Valley, winning the top prize. They were registered alongside DJ Static, a Hudson Valley student who produced their music.

From the outset, the event had a last-minute feel. At the show’s scheduled start time, Grace Harrison, student senate president and one of the competition’s judges, was still writing down the performance order.

Samantha Bedell, student senate secretary and another judge, asked three audience members if they had pens she could borrow. Alfredo Balarin, assistant director of student life, tested the microphone from the sound booth.

Ryan Cietek, theatre arts major, was the show’s emcee. He remained unfailingly positive throughout the evening, praising every act. “Absolutely AH-mazing, wasn’t it, guys?” he said, after two students finished a somewhat shaky vocal performance of “For the Dancing and the Dreaming” from the movie How to Train Your Dragon 2.

Cietek’s quick thinking rectified some potentially grievous missteps: when he came onstage after the three-man folk punk fusion band Maybe with Parachutes had performed four songs, the lead vocalist with an acoustic guitar said aggressively, “You wanna cut me off? We had one left.”

Cietek apologetically said that he was told to, then quickly defused the situation by saying, “Are we all for one more?” and, when the audience cheered, allowed the band to play a fifth song. When they finished, Cietek said, “I’m sorry I did cut you off. It was amazing.”

There had clearly been miscommunication between performers, judges, and the emcee before the performance (before the show, I overheard Maybe with Parachutes saying they could perform their full five-song set).

Besides there not being a set list, there were technical glitches throughout the evening.

Alejandro Torres, performing as Dean the Magician, delayed his act for nearly a minute while Balarin searched for the correct music to play, and when the accompaniment came on, it was uncomfortably loud and remained so for the duration of his act.

Lucid Dreams started their act late because the show staff initially only provided them with one microphone.

After the judges deliberated, My’Asia Colon, student senate vice president, announced the winners. She began with third prize, a $100 gift certificate to the Viking Cove Bookstore, awarded to Torres for his magic act. As Torres approached the stage, Colon said, “We don’t have the prizes now. We’ll give you the prizes Monday, so all you gotta do is—Oh yeah, handshake! Great job!” Another judge had prompted her to shake the winner’s hand.

Second prize, a $300 gift certificate to the Viking Cove Bookstore, went to Selena Torres, an individual studies major, who sang “Blown Away” by Carrie Underwood, accompanying herself on acoustic guitar. Dressed in black, she stood onstage and sang clearly, in tune, and with emotion.

Winning act Lucid Dreams earned a $600 gift certificate to the Viking Cove Bookstore. Kaseem “D.O.C.” Moultrie and Devan “D3V” McCray showed a polished professionalism and clearly knew how to work a stage. Moultrie and McCray confirmed this after the show, saying that they have been writing and performing together for two years, appearing in many local talent shows and opening for some major acts.

They have opened for Snoop Dogg and will be opening for French Montana in December. They said they heard about the Hudson Valley talent show from DJ Static, a local DJ who performed at Hudson Valley’s Sept. 27 homecoming dance.

Moultrie studied music business at Schenectady Community College, and McCray was an individual studies major at Hudson Valley. Neither are currently enrolled at Hudson Valley or in college.

The evening ended on a flub. My’Asia Colon concluded the prize announcements by saying, “And there’s some refreshments right outside the theatre.” There were not.

After the event, Marissa White, an engineering science major who played ukulele and sang Ingrid Michaelson’s version of the Elvis Presley song “Can’t Help Falling in Love,” discussed her experience with the talent show. She had heard about it when members of the student senate announced it to the Student Choir Club, which performed at the show.

“There was a lot of confusion about auditions … They came and told us that auditions were the next day and Thursday and we had no pre-warning, and we weren’t prepared at all, so we ended up doing it the next week. But it was just really messed up. And they didn’t put out signs that there were extended auditions, either,” said White.

White added, “And they never had an order. The girl just walked around,” referring to Grace Harrison, who I had observed writing down the performance order.

This was borne out by my own experience. On Nov. 10, four days before the talent show, when I asked for a list of performers, I was told that the student senate was still holding auditions.

“Those people who won, though, they were really good,” said Nicholas Wait, an engineering science major who was there to see White perform. “I don’t even like rap, I’m like, WOW!”

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: